Nebraska Center for Writers

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Born in Ghana in 1962, KWAME DAWES spent most of his childhood and early adult life in Jamaica. As a poet, he is profoundly influenced by the rhythms and textures of that lush place, citing in a recent interview his "spiritual, intellectual, and emotional engagement with reggae music." His book Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius remains the most authoritative study of the lyrics of Bob Marley. His 11th collection of verse, Wisteria: Poems From the Swamp Country, was published in January 2006. In February, 2007 Akashic Books published his novel She's Gone, and Peepal Tree Books published his 12th collection of poetry, Impossible Flying, and his non-fiction work, A Far Cry From Plymouth Rock: A Personal Narrative. His essays have appeared in numerous journals, including Bomb Magazine, The London Review of Books, Granta, Essence, World Literature Today, and Double Take Magazine. In October, 2007, his thirteenth book of poems, Gomer's Song, appeared on the Black Goat imprint of Akashic Books. Dawes has seen produced some twenty of his plays over the past twenty-five years including, most recently a production of his musical, One Love, at the Lyric Hammersmith in London. Kwame Dawes was Distinguished Poet in Residence, Louis Frye Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts, and Founder and executive Director of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative. He was also the director of the University of South Carolina Arts Institute and is the programming director of the Calabash International Literary Festival, which takes place in Jamaica in May of each year. He is a regular blogger for the Poetry Foundation, his blogs can be read at In 2011 he joined the faculty of the University of Nebraska — Lincoln, where he is the editor-in-chief of Prairie Schooner.

The Rock

Nebraska Center for Writers